On Tuesday, 26th January, 12 members of Llandudno Rotary, plus Mary Oliver, a welcome guest, heard a talk from Mark Puddle about the award-winning, all-male, open-air Shakespeare company he created.
The Lord Chamberlain’s Men is the 21st century recreation of Shakespeare’s own 16th century “playing company” complete with Elizabethan costume, music and dance with the title being expressly approved by the current Lord Chamberlain of the day.
The first season, in 2005, launched with “Macbeth” and toured some of the UK’s most historically important and visually breath-taking locations.. The theatrical superstition of referring to this play only as “The Scottish Play” had been unwisely dispensed with and in that fateful first season anything that could go wrong did go wrong!
Their story might have ended, had it not been for the support of a loyal audience, supportive venues and a very understanding bank manager! Providentially, the second season, touring with “Midsummer Night’s Dream” broke box office records playing to a succession of near-full “houses” throughout one of the hottest British summers of the last 50 years. The travelling players (sometimes irreverently referred to by their peers as “The Boys In Dresses”) has since gone from strength to strength touring to over 200 venues in seven different countries performing over 1150 shows to a over a million audience members.
A scene from Twelfth Night 2016
Although Mark sold The Lord Chamberlain’s Men after 12 years at the helm, this summer 15 years on, you can catch The Lord Chamberlain’s Men at Conwy Castle at the end of June.
Mark has gone on to produce large-scale plays, musicals and concerts, working across new work and revivals in the West End, UK and international touring. He is a sitting member of the Olivier Award voting panel, The Society of London Theatre and The Independent League of Producers and runner up as the UK Performing Arts Entrepreneur and being named as “Who’s Who Young Company Director of the Year”
Mark was introduced to the Club by Rtns. Philip and Margaret Jones, founders of the Llandudno Music Youth Theatre of which Mark is a grateful alumnus. Mark acknowledges this early experience (he was 10 years old) kindled his determination to make a life for himself in the theatre.